Wednesday August 8, 2012
Heng: Six babies saved since Ipoh Specialist Hospital started baby hatch
Story and photo by FONG KEE SOON
GOVERNMENT and private hospitals can emulate the success of the Ipoh Specialist Hospital (ISH) baby hatch where mothers can anonymously give up their unwanted newborns.
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Heng Seai Kie said six babies were saved from certain death because of the baby hatch, which the hospital had started in 2010.
“Four of the babies have since been adopted by new parents and started a new life.
“Two of them are still in the care of the Perak Welfare Department,” she said when visiting the baby hatch last week.
The baby hatch at ISH is the second in the country, after the one set up by non-governmental organisation OrphanCARE in Kuala Lumpur in 2009.
Heng said hospitals had distinct advantages in running baby hatches as they were better equipped and staffed, to deal with the situation.
“Hospitals have a wide range of special equipment to care for the babies before passing the infants to the welfare department,” she said.
“By setting up baby hatches at government hospitals, we will be able to bring down incidents of baby dumping,” she said.
Based on statistics provided by the police, there were 31 cases of baby dumping recorded in the first six months of the year.
“Of this number, 19 babies were found dead.
“Last year saw 98 cases of baby dumping reported, followed by 91 cases in 2010, 79 cases in 2009 and 102 in 2008.
“The actual number is most likely higher as not all cases are reported,” Heng said.
The ministry, she said, would hold a workshop in October to discuss the proposal to set up baby hatches in Government hospitals.
She said presently, there were 55 welfare institutions, 104 district welfare offices and 56 Nur Sejahtera clinics nationwide to receive abandoned babies.
“Mothers with unwanted pregnancies can also contact the Talian Nur 15999 helpline for counselling and information,” she said.